Prosecutors seek gag order on Jan. 8 autopsies
Federal prosecutors have asked that the autopsies of the victims of the Jan. 8 mass shooting not be released, and that the medical examiner not speak to the media.
Prosecutors filed the gag order request Monday, telling U.S. District Judge Larry Burns that the families of five of the victims objected to the release of the autopsy reports.
Release of the reports could taint the jury pool in the expected trial of Jared Lee Loughner, U.S. Attorney Dennis Burke said.
Loughner, 22, was indicted in the shooting of U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and two of her aides, Ron Barber and Pamela Simon, in what authorities call an assassination attempt on the congresswoman.
Federal charges in the deaths of Arizona's chief federal judge, John Roll, and Giffords aide Gabriel Zimmerman are expected soon, authorities have said. Charges in the deaths of the two were dismissed earlier for procedural reasons.
Local charges in the deaths of Christina-Taylor Greene, Dorothy Morris, Phyllis Schneck and Dorwan Stoddard, and the wounding of 10 others, will likely be filed when Loughner's federal trial is over.
Loughner's attorneys did not object to the prosecutor's request to bar the release of the autopsies, and order that the staff of the Medical Examiner's Office not speak with the media about the case.